Born Free USA position: SUPPORT
Update (September 2012): Unfortunately, this bill was defeated on the Senate floor.
Update (June 2012): This bill recently passed the Assembly Floor and the Senate Natural Resources Committee. It will be heard next in Senate Appropriations Committee. If passed, it will go to a full Senate floor vote. Please contact your state senator and urge him or her to vote yes on AB2179. Find your legislator here.
Update (May 16, 2012): The bill passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee today and now goes before the full Assembly.
Bill description: Would increase the ability of the Department of Fish and Game to prosecute and penalize those who violate Fish and Game code (i.e., laws that protect wildlife). The provisions of this bill that would increase enforcement authority for violations of the law are expected to also have a deterrent effect, thereby increasing compliance with wildlife laws and reducing wildlife law enforcement burden. This bill is co-sponsored by Born Free USA and the San Francisco Wildlife Center.
Code violations include poaching elk and abalone, leaving animals in traps for days on end, and polluting streams and damaging wildlife habitat.
Shockingly, some violators get off scot-free simply because criminal courts are too backlogged to prosecute suspected violators. This sends a dangerous message that laws aimed at protecting wildlife are not to be taken seriously.
For more information about this bill contact Born Free USA Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson.